The 'Brown Envelop' and Media Practice in Ghana: a Socio-Cultural Perspective

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Journal of Communications, Media & Society
The brown envelop phenomenon (soli) continues to plague media practice in Africa in general and Ghana in particular despite high standards guiding journalism practice. Income levels and education are noted to have contributed to this trend. This study sought to unravel the factors accounting for the phenomenon and to determine their influence on media practice in Ghana. Questionnaires and semi-structured interviews were administered to forty-eight media people. Irrespective of educational background and professional membership, over 80 percent of journalists still took 'soli' and did not necessarily associate it with bribery. The study also found that income influences the acceptance of soli but that paradoxically respondents, except editors, indicate soli does not influence journalistic output. The study discovered that soli has become inextricably intertwined with the culture of media practice in Ghana. While the findings are limited to the views of these journalists, the study has implications for the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) and the National Media Commission (NMC). It recommends that they take a look at the practical internalization of their code of ethics and guidelines so it becomes an acceptable norm of practice for the media.
Research Article